Monday, July 28, 2014

Guest Post: Road Trip: The Exchange, New Albany, IN

Guess who’s back, back again…   say it like Eminem at least for that line.  Best wishes to a speedy recovery to my pal Erin. 

My wife and I enjoyed a weekend trip to Louisville and decided to commit to the major hipster music festival called Forecastle.  It is a great 3 day music festival that is run well and very approachable.   At roughly $150, you get a ton of good music and the grub is not that bad.   The first band that we wanted to see on Saturday was started at 2:30, so we had a little time to explore.   We took a trip back over the river to the Horseshoe Casino where our casino winning streak ended in a blaze of glory.  Stupid roulette and stupid red 17.

The Eater hot list is my first go-to list when visiting a city that I am not extremely familiar with.  On the top of the list, The Exchange in New Albany.   On Saturday, they open at 1:00 and it is the dinner menu only, which was more interesting to me anyway and I didn’t mind spending the extra dough as money and calories do not count when on vacation (note: red 17).  There were a few other patrons knocking down the doors at 1:00, so I was hopeful that the locals knew a thing or two and this was a good place.

The interior is quite nice.  They spared no expense.  The tables are reclaimed wood from the renovation and the steel beam trusses give it a warm but industrial look to it.   The restaurant itself is quite nice actually.  The menu is a modern gastro pub which is a significant as natural food labeling, but to me is just means – let's try to fancy up bar food and charge $2 more on everything.    

We started off with roasted red pepper hummus ($7) and roasted corn chowder ($6).   I realized after ordering the hummus, am I ever blown away by hummus? No.  I actually enjoyed this dish quite a bit and I liked the Klaus’ soft pretzel crostini.  Though it seems like an obvious fit, this is the first time that I had pico on hummus and I thought that it added nice texture to the dish.  The corn chowder was a disappointment.   For having bacon in it, I could’ve used a little more salt and pepper.  The soup wasn’t served hot enough for my liking and the green chile crema didn’t add anything significant and I didn’t care for the lukewarm soup and really cold crema combination.  Back to the drawing board on this.

My wife ordered a grilled cheese with white cheddar, green chiles, pickled onions, dijon mayo and brioche bread ($12).   She enjoyed this quite a bit, but I can’t say that I felt the same way.  The big issues here for me is that the bread and cheese proportions where out of whack.  More bread than cheese that is.  The pickled onions added a little bit of crunch that tasted out of place here.  Again, my wife liked it, I didn’t – it is probably a matter of taste.

I ordered the rock shrimp gnocchi ($20).  Cream, parmesan, red fresno peppers, asparagus, and bread crumbs.  I liked this quite a bit except it suffered the same fate as my corn chowder where a little salt and pepper could help this dish.  I didn’t get a lot of notes from the fresnos, but they added a lot of asparagus in the dish.  The gnocchi was just a bit soft for my taste, but I have had a lot worse.  The bread crumbs added texture to the dish and I have to say that this was a winner.

The Exchange was a nice surprise. There were a few issues here and there, but it was an overall strong effort for a young restaurant.  I enjoyed exploring New Albany and it was worth the 10 minute drive from downtown Louisville.  It’s a great space, the food showed promise, good beer and bourbon list, and I wouldn’t have any reservations in going there or recommending it. 


The Exchange
118 W Main
New Albany, IN

1 comment:

  1. Nice! I'm not sure if they were open when we took our last trip... we're overdue to return; there are so many awesome places in Louisville, but I liked scoping out New Albany as we were waiting for our hotel check-in across the river. We had a nice brunch at Toast on Market, checked out a tour of the Culbertson Mansion and then hit up the Bank Street location of New Albanian Brewing Co.